Review on genetics of polydactyly in Maine coon cats, written as “special project” for the PawAcademy G2 course autumn 2018. Text updated January 2020.
Optimal Selection (MyCatDNA) test for polydactyly based on the three known genetic markers / mutations identified by Lettice et al. (2008). It is included in a genome-wide genetic analysis that gives information on several inherited characteristics.
Polydactyl cats are known by various names - "mitten cats", "thumb cats", "six-finger cats", "Cardi cats" and "Hemingway cats". The latter is because of writer Ernest Hemingway who made his home on the small island of Key West, Florida. He shared the island with nearly 50 cats, including a 6-toed polydactyl given to him by a ship captain; the cats bred and the polydactyl trait became common, hence polydactyls are often known as "Hemingway Cats".